Child Custody and Relocation Focus on Best Interests of the Child

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Custody on Thursday, December 26, 2013.

Child custody determinations, whether reached by the family court or the by agreement of the parents, can often involve intense motions and strong emotional reactions.

It is not a surprise to most parents that following a divorce, child custody disputes may arise. At times, child custody disputes may require the involvement of the family law court while, at other times, parents will be able to arrive at child custody agreements without the need of any intervention from the court. Child custody determinations are based on the best interests of the child. Because this standard can vary based on the unique circumstances of each situation, it is important that parents understand the factors that will be considered and how those factors will be applied.

When arriving a child custody determination, and what is in the best interests of the child, the family court may rely on a variety of considerations, including the wishes of the child (if the child is reasonably capable of expressing such a preference); the age and sex of the child; any adjustment to school and community; religious and cultural considerations; the need for a continued and stable home environment; the relationships between members of the household; opportunities for interaction with and support of extended family members of either parent; the mental and physical health of the parents; and any evidence of abuse of the child or drug or alcohol abuse by a parent.

In situations when a relocation request by one parent is being considered, the court will, once again, seek to determine the best interests of the child and will look for a good faith reason for the relocation. Good faith reasons can include a new job, educational opportunities, a better cost of living or a closer proximity to family that may help out with child care responsibilities. As always, the best interests of the child will be the guiding focus of any child custody determination.

By understanding the child custody process, whether as a parent seeking relocation or visitations rights, any parent involved in a child custody dispute may be able to achieve a better outcome for all parties involved. A trained family law attorney can help parents understand the process and remain focused on achieving the best interests of the child.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6 Things to Expect and Consider When Relocating with Children After Divorce," Andrea Moore, Dec. 18, 2013

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